Unapproved union deals back on the table?


Common Council President Mark Devine is putting two tentative union contracts back on the table next week. Now all he needs is a “second” to get a vote on them, but that’s not guaranteed.


Two tentative deals struck with the CSEA and AFSCME units at city hall have lingered for months, since the prior council delayed voting on them.

Devine said a member of the 2020-2021 council, who he declined to identify, told him that they would second his motion to bring the pacts to a floor vote.

“It’s supposed to be on the agenda and I’m supposed to have a second, but we’ll see what happens,” Devine said. “It was told directly to me that it would be seconded. That happened last time too.”

At the beginning of the year, Devine said he was optimistic the new council would approve the deals. 

Fifth Ward Alderman Rick Abbott, who has questioned the city’s ability to cover the cost of the agreements, previously requested that Bonadio Group do a cost analysis of them. As of Thursday, Abbott said, that cost analysis has not been done.  

Devine and Mayor Michelle Roman have said repeatedly that the necessary funding is in the 2020 budget. 

“This is pure politics, what they played on the mayor,” Devine said of Republican aldermen who wouldn’t support a vote on the pacts late last year.

In December, Devine introduced a motion to accept the agreements with the CSEA and AFSCME units but failed to get a second, which meant the deals could not go to a vote. That meeting was the last meeting for now-former aldermen David Wohleben, Larry Eggert and Amanda Farrell.  

Roman had announced the tentative deals with CSEA and AFSCME in October. Members of both unions have been working without a current contract, and consequently without pay increases, for five years or more.

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